Fallacious Follies: Oberoni, Stormwind, and Fallacies OH MY!

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That's the point though; I think when talking about optimizing, "I can join the service that gives you at least the most basic thing" is kind of a low bar. As I said, by that standard "Playing a fighter" is optimizing, which, well...
Its a very different system with entirely different assumptions. Traveller has a flatter progression so needing to optimize is both different and less necessary than D&D. Even D&D suffers from the lack of a ceiling in 3E and its myriad of ways to push up up up. I think the landscape is much different now.
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I believe I gave an exception for that in my post.
Yes but you didn’t take it to its conclusion like I did.
I think, however, this is basically another case of "Try it, you'll like it!" As a suggestion, that's fine. As forcing the issue, again, not someone else's business to be doing.
IMO. Games aren’t tastebuds. There’s a lot psychologically underpinning the way people play and not all of that is good. For example we readily criticize certain DMing styles, but to do the same of a players style… you get exactly what you are doing here - justifying its existence almost no matter what. There’s simply no other context that occurs in.

On the other hand, assuming you know what is good for people better than they do is not exactly something that has a particularly good history of positive results, either.
As I said, maybe there’s an exception - but the typical case is the people playing that way are having much of the fun sucked out of the game. I know because I was one of them.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
By that standard, being able to choose a class in OD&D was optimization, which I think sets the bar so low as to destroy any useful meaning to the term.
I don’t.

Wanted to expand now that I have time. In practice what happens in games with lower optimization ceilings is that it’s harder to spot those playing purely for power and those that aren’t - and even if they are playing for power they aren’t warping the rest of the game around them much more than a non-optimizer making that single choice. In that kind of system if there’s a disparity the blame is much more on the system than on the optimizer. The more choices the system gives players where they can affect their power the more of a straight jacket high optimization becomes to the player psychology Ive been discussing. The harder to balance the game is. The more noticeable it is. Etc.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Three thoughts:

One, you're describing an unusual process of play that's outside the normal rules of gameplay, and it's more or less normative in different environments. It's rarer (and harder to do) in board games and things like video games. Variant rules can be interesting (and obviously serve a greater role in TTRPGs than other kinds of games) but can't be held up as a basic part of a design without compromising the design in the first place. You can't write rules with the assumption they won't be used.
Worked just fine for my basketball example. The key is the designers don’t need to design the game any particular way to accommodate, the individuals what want to handicap or whatever will find house rules that work for them.

Secondly, I don't actually think that follows in a cooperative game the same way it does in a competitive one. You're more likely to see accommodations there with things like character difficulty ratings, or being pointed to established, known strategies whilst one gets familiar with the mechanics. Sometimes you even see cooperative games themselves suggested as a solution for divergent player skill, to avoid the negative experiences competition can bring. Cooperative play has its own problems (i.e. "quarterbacking" where a more experienced player effectively makes choices for a less experienced player), but I don't think this kind of variant is common in play when everyone is driving at a shared goal.
I would suggest it’s even easier to make things fair with a dm oriented in that direction at all.

And finally the thing you're describing is contrary to the goal of play of many environments. What you're describing would be better understood as a training exercise than the experience of gameplay; the goal of the game is to win under a known set of conditions, the players are actively trying to get better at playing under those conditions. You might set a handicap to test a scenario, to practice a specific skill and so on, but ultimately the goal is to deploy those skills in a live gameplay environment.*
No. What I’m describing is friendly competition when the friends recognize their differences in skill level. It’s not training or practice unless specifically for that purpose and what I proposed was not - at least no more than playing a game more naturally improves your skill at it - at least to some degree.
 

Pedantic

Legend
Worked just fine for my basketball example. The key is the designers don’t need to design the game any particular way to accommodate, the individuals what want to handicap or whatever will find house rules that work for them.
But houserules are a separate entity from game design. Rule 0 proponents aside, you can't meaningfully design a game with the explicit intention of your design being altered in unknown ways.
No. What I’m describing is friendly competition when the friends recognize their differences in skill level. It’s not training or practice unless specifically for that purpose and what I proposed was not - at least no more than playing a game more naturally improves your skill at it - at least to some degree.
This may just be a difference in our gaming backgrounds. It would generally undermine the point of the activity to alter the rules to accommodate skill differentials; my friends would be more likely to offer strategy advice or to pause and point out potential pitfalls or downsides to a given move. The goal is to experience the play a given game produces, so changing the nature of the game would undermine the point of playing in the first place. It's not uncommon for us to introduce a new game with an explanation that you will almost certainly lose your first round, or equally often, to find the new player has spotted some nuance we haven't yet understood as the inevitable groupthink has taken us over.

I do think it's significant to point out that the basketball comparison involves a degree of physical skill that might require repetition and practice to achieve. That's analogous to the heuristics and patterns of thought you'd build up over repeated play of a game, but those are much more transferable between individuals, and between similar games. It is obviously unreasonable to expect an experienced athlete and a newcomer to compete on a level field, it is significantly less so to expect a new player to be competitive after a couple rounds of a new game. That's one of the strengths of the medium.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Its a very different system with entirely different assumptions. Traveller has a flatter progression so needing to optimize is both different and less necessary than D&D. Even D&D suffers from the lack of a ceiling in 3E and its myriad of ways to push up up up. I think the landscape is much different now.

I'm not inexperienced with it, Payn; I ran two full campaigns of it back in the day. I still can't see "I have Auto Rifle-1 and a chance at some other combat support abilities that I may or may not get" as being optimization even by Traveller standards. I'm betting if you asked an experienced Trav player that wouldn't even be where they'd start with it, but back in the attribute values (and this becomes even more true once you got into MTrav).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yes but you didn’t take it to its conclusion like I did.

Yes, because I don't agree the conclusion is where to go.

IMO. Games aren’t tastebuds. There’s a lot psychologically underpinning the way people play and not all of that is good. For example we readily criticize certain DMing styles, but to do the same of a players style… you get exactly what you are doing here - justifying its existence almost no matter what. There’s simply no other context that occurs in.

The criticism of DM styles has a lot to do with the fact that DMs are extended a lot of power that a player doesn't have. Them deciding what to play and how is the only power they really have, so I think, again, barring extremely degenerate cases, telling them how they should do that is, bluntly, a bit rich.

As I said, maybe there’s an exception - but the typical case is the people playing that way are having much of the fun sucked out of the game. I know because I was one of them.

They aren't you. And as such its neither your duty, nor even right to tell them how they should play.
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I'm not inexperienced with it, Payn; I ran two full campaigns of it back in the day. I still can't see "I have Auto Rifle-1 and a chance at some other combat support abilities that I may or may not get" as being optimization even by Traveller standards. I'm betting if you asked an experienced Trav player that wouldn't even be where they'd start with it, but back in the attribute values (and this becomes even more true once you got into MTrav).
I didnt say you were inexperienced. I was trying to take the discussion back in general of optimization, but looks like that just wont happen. 🤷‍♂️
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I didnt say you were inexperienced. I was trying to take the discussion back in general of optimization, but looks like that just wont happen. 🤷‍♂️

Its fine to do so. My only argument ever was that the more random elements there are in character generation and/or advancement, the less room for optimization there is, because you just can't control the result you'll end up with. And the choices you have with Trav characters are very limited.

Remember, this was in response to Pemerton using it as an example because it was less combat oriented (which I think is actually not as clear as he does, given the two commonest campaign styles with it back in the day were either merchants or mercenaries), and my noting that it wouldn't have mattered how combat centric it was because you had such limited control.

It was essentially an argument that to optimize things you have to control things.

(I also thought it showed how much people assume that only combat is going to have enough mechanical teeth that you can't optimize within them, but that's kind of a side issue).
 

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